The Gallery


Stanley Baxter

as Mother Goose

King's Theatre Edinburgh & Glasgow, 1982-3

Memories of the show submitted by Chris Diamond was a fantastic show which also starred Angus Lennie as Gussie. Angus was a big star at the time due to his being in Crossroads, as I'm sure you recall, though since we didn't watch that we were more excited to see someone who had been in The Great Escape. He was great, was Angus and the whole show was a real treat. The costumes at the King's are always impressive but the frocks Stanley had for the sequences where Mother Goose goes 'bad' were incredible. One was a champagne glass overflowing with bubbles which was extraordinary.

As an added bonus to the show itself Stanley also gave us the very real treat of a whole section of Parliamo Glasgow prior to the final walk-down at the end.
If you are unfamiliar with Parliamo Glasgow (and if you are apologies for the protracted explanation) it was a comic device used by Stanley on stage at the Citizen's Theatre years before and successfully translated into print and on television. It took the shape of imagined words in phonetic form being strung together in combinations to create Glaswegian phrases and colloquialisms which Stanley would explain in clipped RP then lapse into broad Glaswegian to demonstrate. For example, 'ZARRA' would be put together with 'FACMAC' and 'BURDORAHAIRYWULLIE' to make: ZARRAFACMAC ("Is that a fact, Mac?") and ZARRABURDORAHAIRYWULLIE ("Is that a young lady, or a young man?")

At the panto, Stanley put on his most conservative suit and stood stage left while four girls from the chorus stood across the stage holding large square sort-of-rolling-pin things which displayed a suffix and could be turned to show another few and provide the tag. The first girl held the prefix (the 'ZARRA' bit) and the girls would turn the words at Stanley's prompt.
I'm not sure how much more stilted an explanation I could have dreamt up there but don't be put off, it was hilarious and a fantastic treat to see it done live. It was really very, very clever.

Testament to the impact the show had on me is the fact that I can recall celarly the song for singing along to at the end. I only saw the show once but it has stuck with me for the last 20-odd years.

It was also done in the Parliamo Glasgow schtick and went thus:

"Geeza purra burra furrra murra
Geeza barra choaclate furra wean
Geeza ton o' fags
Has yez oany tottie bags?
Tae pit ma totties in tae ah get hame
Plrrt on ra slate I'll pay yez efter
I'm off tae see ra pantymine
And if yez can say
"nae borra, a' the best"
Yez needna borra,
Yez can Parliamo Glasgow orra time!"


"Give me a pound of butter for my mother,
Give me a bar of chocolate for my child
Give me a tin of cigarettes
Have you any potato bags,
To put my potatoes in until I get home.
Put it on the slate I'll pay you later
I'm off to see the pantomime.
And of you can say,
"No bother, all the best"
You needn't bother,
You can Parliamo Glasgow anytime!"

(As an aside on the subject of the song, I have often wondered about the word "Cloot" which is how the tab which is lowered from the flies with the song written on is referred to (I'm presuming it is spelt "cloot" since of course I've never seen it written down, only spoken - "Bring down the cloot") and whether this is a purely Glaswegian or Scottish word?)

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